Gov. Phil Murphy has announced his plan to coordinate the doling out of funds amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in New Jersey.
On Friday, the first-term Democrat announced the creation of the Governor’s Disaster Recovery Office to coordinate CARES Act funds and other coronavirus-related funding.
The office "will ensure that all funds are expended in compliance with federal rules and regulations," Murphy said. "I’m further requiring the creation of a transparency website to track the office’s progress, and an annual report to be produced."
The ensure proper usage of funds, Murphy is establishing COVID-19 Compliance Task Force under the leadership of Acting Comptroller Kevin Walsh, Murphy said. The task force will be establishing an Integrity Oversight Monitoring program.
The task force will "review COVID-related procurements above a certain dollar threshold, ensure internal controls and provide compliance training to all agencies receiving COVID-19 funds," Murphy tweeted.
"We’re fighting for every possible penny of COVID-19 relief," Murphy said. "We’re putting in place the oversight we need for this moment, to give the public greater confidence in our work, and to ensure that our restart and recovery moves forward."
As of Friday, the COVID-19 case count was approaching 177,000. At least 13,710 people died from coronavirus-related complications, with 20 new deaths announced Friday. Another nearly 2,000 deaths are suspected to be from COVID-19.
Despite hospitalizations and cases being down, New Jersey has paused any reopening plans as the rate of transmission has slightly ticked up at various times in recent weeks. Overnight the Rt, which tracks how many others are being infected by someone with COVID-19, went up to 1.1 after being at 1 Thursday. Rt was below 1 for several weeks until recently going above 1.
Murphy continues to mandate mask wearing in public places and social distancing to slow the spread of the virus.
"When you go out this weekend be smart, be safe," Murphy said.
Out-of-State Travelers to Be Given Electronic Survey
Starting Monday, the state health department will use an electronic survey to collect data on out-of-state travelers.
When travelers arrive at New Jersey airports from coronavirus hot spot states they will hear announcements urging them to take the survey on their phones by texting 898211, going to the state's website or scanning QR codes on display at the airport.
Visitors and residents arriving form virus hot spots -- mostly in the south and west -- are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arriving in New Jersey.
The info gathered from the digital survey will be shared with counties, Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said.
Rental Assistance Deadline
The is for a short period of time some economic relief available. On Friday, Murphy reminded New Jerseyans that they could apply until the 5 p.m. deadline for emergency rental assistance if they have lost income in the past months.